Paying it Forward
When I arrived as a freshman in Warren College in 1978, I was intrigued by the multi-disciplinary education I was about to engage in. Yet for as much as my educational opportunities were diverse, my fellow student body was not. There was only a small population of Black students, and even fewer faculty members who looked like me. Today, mentoring students and serving on the alumni board and the Black Alumni Council has helped me make sense of this duality I encountered—a fantastic and inspirational education, coupled with a sometimes lonely experience as a student.
Now, as an active alum, I see the progress being made toward greater diversity on campus. The number of UC San Diego undergraduates from underrepresented groups has more than doubled since 2012, and 37% of our students are first in their family to attend college. This speaks to my favorite of all of UC San Diego’s numerous high rankings—we have been named number one in social mobility by Washington Monthly for 10 years.
As alumni, we can still make a difference. The percentage of Black students on campus has increased only incrementally since I graduated, and we are just on the cusp of becoming a Hispanic-Serving Institution, nearing the 25% Chicanx student population required for such designation. As alumni, we can help increase these numbers by supporting initiatives like Chancellors Associate Scholarships and The San Diego Foundation’s Black Alumni Scholarship Fund. You can also contribute to students’ continued success by mentoring and sharing career opportunities via our online networking platform, Tritons Connect.
Even before the global civil unrest started last spring, UC San Diego students, faculty, staff, and alumni have been asking critical questions about equity and diversity at our university: Are we providing access to as many students as possible? How can the campus and curriculum be more inclusive so that all students will thrive? I welcome all alumni to take part in these conversations during the fourth annual Triton Leaders Conference, February 5–6, 2021. Just turn the page to learn more about the many speakers, breakout sessions, and discussion topics that I hope you’ll choose to engage in, especially as we reflect on the 60th year of our outstanding university during such a momentous time for our society.
With Triton pride,
Kimberley Phillips Boehm, Warren ’82, PhD
President, UC San Diego Alumni Board of Directors